Top Bachmann aide goes after Palin for not being 'serious'

A high-profile ally of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) went after Sarah Palin on Tuesday, previewing what could be a contentious rivalry on the 2012 campaign trail.

Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins -- who has signed up to advise Bachmann's presidential campaign-in-waiting -- criticized Palin, the former Alaska governor, for lacking seriousness since serving as the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years," Rollins said on Fox News personality Brian Kilmeade's radio show. "She got the vice presidential thing handed to her. She didn’t go to work in the sense of trying gain more substance. She gave up her governorship."

Bachmann has publicly been gracious toward Palin in public, but Rollins's comments indicate that there could be more sniping between the two Tea Party favorites if both decide to enter the presidential race.

Rollins managed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) presidential campaign in 2008 and has long been critical of Palin. He said that Bachmann is better suited to be presidential candidate than Palin.

"She’s an attorney, done extraordinary things with family values and what have you. So I think she will connect. She’s a great, great communicator and I would say in the race right today, she is probably the best communicator now that Mike Huckabee's not in there," he said. 

"You know, I think Michele Bachmann and others have worked hard. She has been a leader of the Tea Party, which is a very important element here," he added. 

Bachmann said she is "friends" with Palin as recently as last week and the two have a history of being allies: Palin endorsed Bachmann and gave a high-profile speech on behalf of the congresswoman during the 2010 midterm elections.

But Bachmann has shown she is willing to throw elbows: she took a swipe last week at former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), a declared presidential candidate, for his past openness to an individual health insurance mandate.